WILTON – The Foothills Arts Center will celebrate its 20th anniversary with an exhibit by four Foothills artist-teachers and a student photographer. “Looking from the Inside Out” opens with a public reception and party from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 1, at the arts center in the Bass-Wilson Building.

One spectacular piece in the exhibit is an 8- by 16-foot mural of self-portraits done by the four Foothills’ teachers to express their inner and outer selves. Debbi Hiltz, Kay Seefeldt, Danielle Guerrette and Kim Jacques used a variety of materials, including oil pastels, paints and special pencils,

Hiltz has more than 26 years of teaching experience, including nine in SAD 9. “I thrive on learning and trying new things, and, in turn, in my teaching, I encourage others to take risks and explore all that life has to offer and teach,” she said.

Hiltz will exhibit pastel portraits, pencil self-portraits, photo/mixed media collage, relief sculptures, block prints, still lifes and landscapes in oil.

Seefeldt is a teacher of watercolors and mixed media. Having recently retired from teaching language arts at Jay Middle School, she now has more time to experiment with a variety of materials. “Today, loose watercolor landscapes of rural Maine predominate in my body of work, but experimental abstract is gaining favor in my artistic journey,” she said.

Seefeldt’s portion of the exhibit will feature collages using traditional encaustic (hot wax) and a variety of papers, an art form that, she said, “captivates me with its velvety finish and sweet scent of bee’s wax.”

Guerrette, a middle-school art teacher in SAD 9, is a painter at heart who also enjoys learning and implementing new techniques and media. “My art tells a story of both the trying and spectacular times in my life. Trees are a recurring image I use – the way life branches out, the unexpected and unpredictable; the longer it has to grow, the deeper the roots go,” she said.

Guerrette will exhibit self-portraits, most in oils and some mixed media.

The artwork of Jacques, an elementary art teacher in SAD 9, focuses on creating a visual story. “To me,” she said, “it’s surrealism not quite committed. It may be realistic in nature; however, one element may lead its observer to contemplate a possible hidden meaning. Teaching art at the elementary level has rejuvenated my love for fantasy.”

The body of Jacques’ work in the exhibit includes a combination of black-and-white hand and still-life stories, along with other subjects using mixed media.

Samuel Cohen, a senior at Mt. Blue High School who will be attending New York University in the fall, has already started his own business, Adiv Photography. He has been inspired by photographers throughout the world, especially the clean, artistic images of Edward Weston, the tableaux of Jeff Wall and the New York City street photography of Gus Powell. Cohen’s photographs have won prizes at the Franklin County Fair for five years in a row. He also won first prize in the 2008 Maine Coast Heritage Trust photography contest.

Included in the exhibit will be photographs that he took in the United States, Israel and several other countries. He enjoys photographing people the most. “A good portrait should shine light into the depths of the subject’s character, but this is much easier said than done,” Cohen said.

For more information, including additional hours to view the exhibit, contact Director Anne Geller at 645-7117 or [email protected]

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